ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, July 25 (UPI) -- Natural gas is expected to play a major role in meeting the energy demands from Middle East and North African consumers, the Abu Dhabi National Oil Co. said.
The Abu Dhabi company said it was laying the foundation for an international petroleum conference in November. ADNOC said the focus of the conference would be the general shift toward natural gas in the region.
The official Emirates News Agency reports companies in the Middle East and North Africa account for 42 percent of the global natural gas reserves. It said it expects demand for natural gas to increase as regional economies look for cleaner alternatives to coal and oil.
ADNOC director of natural gas operations Mohamed Sahoo al-Suwaidi said natural gas offers a cheaper and cleaner option for the region's energy demands.
"We believe it is the right time to address the needs of the burgeoning gas sector given the need to diversify our energy mix and cater to domestic demand," he said Wednesday.
ADNOC said it was investing more than half of its $40 billion budget for 2013 on natural gas.
The international conference is scheduled over three days beginning Nov. 10.